UKIP disappears from the political map

Will Nigel Farage return to spearhead UKIP's General Election campaign, displacing his useless successor Paul Nuttall (right)

The Party’s Over: Nigel Farage (left) is no doubt relieved not to be sharing the blame for terrible UKIP results in 2017.

The 2017 elections have been even worse than predicted for UKIP – wiped off the map with not a single councillor re-elected. The collapsing share of the vote across what were once UKIP’s strongest counties repeated the pattern observed over the past year in H&D‘s regular analysis of local by-elections: down from 14.3% to 7.4% in Lincolnshire; from 20.0% to 6.3% in Suffolk; from 23.5% to 6.0% in Norfolk; and from 27.0% to 7.4% in Essex.

The party’s only success was in Padiham & Burnley West, Lancashire, where UKIP’s Alan Hosker won the county council seat once held by the BNP’s Sharon Wilkinson. (Strangely UKIP had failed to contest this in 2013 when Cllr Wilkinson stood down.) Elsewhere in Lancashire there were some UKIP disappointments in target divisions such as Preston East, where they polled 11.3%. (H&D editor Mark Cotterill had polled 22.3% in Preston East on slightly different boundaries in 2009.) In the neighbouring Preston South East UKIP fared even worse with just 6.7%, justly punished for failure to do any campaigning in these White working class areas of the city which voted heavily Leave in last year’s EU referendum.

Total UKIP support in Lancashire was down from 14.7% to 3.0% (partly reflecting a reduced number of candidates); similarly UKIP’s vote in Devon fell from 23.3% to 4.4%.

In overnight results UKIP votes collapsed across two former strongholds, Essex and Lincolnshire.

The landslide win for ex-UKIP councillor Kerry Smith, re-elected as an independent, contrasted with the near-annihilation of his former party.

The landslide win for ex-UKIP councillor Kerry Smith, re-elected as an independent, contrasted with the near-annihilation of his former party.

Ex-UKIP county councillor Kerry Smith (who was forced to quit the party in 2014 after a row over “offensive remarks”) retained his seat with a vastly increased majority, standing as an independent in the Basildon Westley Heights division of Essex. UKIP didn’t put up a candidate against him. Cllr Smith won 60.6% of the vote this time, compared to 29.0% when he first won the seat for UKIP in 2013.

But UKIP’s own official candidates were badly beaten. Every Essex UKIP seat was lost, including another Basildon division, Laindon Park & Fryerns, where they were pushed into third place.

Staying in Essex, UKIP lost the Thundersley division (part of the Castle Point constituency) to the Tories by almost 2,000 votes.  (Last time UKIP won this by 200.) Another Castle Point seat was lost to the Tories, again by more than 2,000 votes, in the South Benfleet division; while in the Harlow divisions UKIP incompetence led to their candidates failing to be validly nominated.

Labour’s defeats last night and today will make bigger headlines (especially some heavy losses to the Tories in Warwickshire) but by any objective measure this has been an even worse election for Paul Nuttall than for Jeremy Corbyn.

If this disaster is repeated at the General Election next month, Nigel Farage and his financial backer Arron Banks are sure to go ahead with their plans for a new ‘Patriotic Alliance’ to replace UKIP.

By far the best nationalist results were predictably in Pendle, an area of Lancashire where UKIP failed to put up any candidates and where the BNP has its sole remaining borough councillor, Brian Parker.

Mr Parker finished third with 719 votes (20.4%) in Pendle Central; his colleague John Rowe who was the only White candidate for the Nelson East division polled 500 votes (10.8%).

Ex-serviceman Pete Molloy, a former BNP activist, achieved one of the few good nationalist votes standing as an independent.

Ex-serviceman Pete Molloy, a former BNP activist, achieved one of the few good nationalist votes standing as an independent.

Outside Pendle the outstanding nationalist performance was ex-BNP activist Pete Molloy’s 601 votes (14.8%) standing as an independent in Spennymoor, Durham. Admittedly this is one of the rare areas that elects independent councillors, but Mr Molloy polled more than double the UKIP vote. On a bleak night for both nationalists and UKIP this was a rare bright spot.

Another ex-BNP (and in his case ex-BDP) candidate, ex-councillor Graham Partner, polled 66 votes (2.3%) in Coalville North, Leicestershire.

Among the overnight results the BNP highlight was their Eastern region organiser Richard Perry almost overtaking the fading UKIP in Heybridge & Tollesbury, an area of Essex where the BNP has campaigned almost solely on the issue of opposing “unsustainable” housing developments. Mr Perry polled 422 votes (8.2%), only 12 votes behind UKIP – but more than 2,500 votes behind the Tory winner.

In nearby Maldon, Mr Perry’s BNP colleague Trevor Cable (again fighting on the “unsustainable housing” issue and with this slogan on the ballot paper) fared less well with 115 votes (2.4%).

In the Basildon Pitsea division, BNP candidates Paul Borg and Christine Winter finished bottom of the poll with 2.1% (the same as the NF polled in 2013). Again UKIP were badly beaten here, in a division where they had been only just behind Labour in 2013.

The BNP’s Paul Hooks was again bottom of the poll in Halstead, polling 0.5% (down from 1.1% last time).

As in Essex, UKIP was wiped out in Lincolnshire (another former stronghold which includes the Boston & Skegness constituency targeted by Nuttall) losing seats in Boston and elsewhere to the Tories.

The UKIP vote across Lincolnshire was almost halved to 7.4% from 14.3% in 2013.

Robert Ashton, the BNP’s only Lincolnshire candidate, polled 46 votes (1.5%) in Louth South. In Hayling Island, Hampshire, the sole BNP candidate John Moore took 30 votes (0.6%).

Amid the UKIP disaster in Kent, where they lost every single seat, the BNP polled modestly – even in Swanley, where there was no UKIP candidate, BNP candidate Cliff Le May managed only 2.5%, while Ronald Ball polled 1.6% in Dartford NE and Michael Cope 0.9% in Dartford W.

The only racial nationalist result in Wales was in Llangewydd & Brynhyfryd, Bridgend, where the NF’s Adam Lloyd polled 21 votes (3.0%).

Likewise the NF was the only racial nationalist party with a presence in Scotland. Outgoing NF chairman Dave MacDonald polled 29 votes (1.2%) in the Tillydrone, Seaton & Old Aberdeen ward of Aberdeen; his colleague Billy Watson had 10 votes (0.2%) in the Torry & Ferryhill ward.

 

Kevin Bryan (right) about to return as NF Chairman, was the only NF candidate in England, with his colleague Adam Lloyd (left) the only racial nationalist candidate from any party in Wales.

Kevin Bryan (right) about to return as NF Chairman, was the only NF candidate in England, with his colleague Adam Lloyd (left) the only racial nationalist candidate from any party in Wales.

NF chairman Kevin Bryan will be disappointed with his 50 votes (1.6%) in Whitworth & Bacup, Lancashire, where even UKIP only polled 9.6%: the local contest there was dominated by the Tories, who gained this redrawn seat from Labour by just 17 votes. Even before this result H&D understands the NF was likely not to field General Election candidates, having quite reasonably concluded that this fake ‘snap’ election is likely to be dominated by the destruction of UKIP and a voter reaction against Corbyn’s Labour – there will be little time for smaller nationalist parties to develop a campaign.

The only British Democratic Party candidate, Kevan Stafford in Loughborough South, Leicestershire, polled 30 votes (1.1%) in Loughborough South, Leicestershire, a division which was similarly dominated by a close Tory-Labour contest and where UKIP slipped to 3.4%. The difference is that both Mr Bryan and Mr Stafford had actually done some work (unlike most UKIP candidates), so their result was scant reward for serious effort.

There were contrasting results for the two British Resistance candidates in Worcestershire.  Party leader and former BNP organiser Carl Mason polled 11 votes (0.5%) in Nunnery, while his colleague Linda Bell fared better with 39 votes (2.0%) in Gorse Hill & Warndon.

Dr Andrew Emerson, leader of another post-BNP party Patria, polled 21 votes (0.5%) in Chichester W, West Sussex. In a simultaneous by-election for East Wittering ward, Chichester, Dr Emerson polled 18 votes (1.4%).

English Democrat leader Robin Tilbrook was the only county council candidate for his much reduced party, polling 1.7% in Ongar & Rural – an Essex division where UKIP lost two-thirds of their 2013 vote. Elsewhere the headline result for the EDs was in the Greater Manchester mayoral election, where ED candidate Steve Morris with 2.0% finished ahead of the scandal-plagued UKIP rabbi Shneur Odze on 1.9%. Meanwhile the ED mayoral candidate for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Stephen Goldspink, polled 1.1%.

 

 

 

 

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